Definition of lion in US English:

lion

noun

  • 1A large tawny-colored cat that lives in prides, found in Africa and northwestern India. The male has a flowing shaggy mane and takes little part in hunting, which is done cooperatively by the females.

    Panthera leo, family Felidae

    • ‘For instance, by choosing to hunt at a different place or time, coyotes avoid wolves, cheetahs avoid lions, and leopards avoid tigers.’
    • ‘A stone lion's head, which seems to float above a potted plant, drips water into the pool.’
    • ‘Apparently they don't even have the delightful touch farm and lion enclosure anymore.’
    • ‘Three year-old male lions grow manes that vary in color from black to blond.’
    • ‘Female Asiatic lions live an average of 17 to 18 years, with a maximum of 21 years.’
    • ‘The crowd roars like a lion in a cage.’
    • ‘Living with elephants and giraffes, and seeing lions hunt and kill, was fantastic.’
    • ‘There are springbok, wildebeest, red hartebeest, lion, leopard, cheetah and giraffe among others.’
    • ‘Wild African lions roam free within ten minutes drive of the center of Nairobi, Kenya.’
    • ‘The river has chiselled the mountain face, making it resemble a lion's paw.’
    • ‘The zoo had received its three Asiatic lions just two years ago as part of a European endangered species programme.’
    • ‘A troupe of lion cubs nuzzle her hand and chew playfully on her shoelaces.’
    • ‘Male lions develop thick woolly manes on the neck and shoulders, signifying maturity.’
    • ‘At Babylon there is a famous basalt statue of a man being mauled by a lion.’
    • ‘In field experiments female lions tend to choose male partners with the darkest manes.’
    • ‘However, they sometimes reached the pinnacle of honor by killing lions on their own.’
    • ‘South Africa contributes about 30 percent of lions hunted in sub-Saharan Africa.’
    • ‘She noticed an intricately carved, roaring lion's head was at the end of the banister.’
    • ‘Male African lions perform this maneuver when they consort with a receptive female, herding her in the desired direction.’
    • ‘Male lions use their manes to attract females, to scare competitors, to make them look bigger and to protect their head and neck during fights.’
    1. 1.1 The lion as an emblem (e.g. of English or Scottish royalty) or as a charge in heraldry.
      • ‘I needn't see the heraldic lion on his clothes' front to know where he came from.’
      • ‘Notice the maker's mark is missing and that the lion passant mark is eroded in a peculiar fashion not consistent with normal wear.’
      • ‘The sobriety of the streets is relieved by bridges with self-important towers or slightly pompous lions and griffins with gilded wings.’
      • ‘This design is blazoned as ‘Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale Or,’ and it is still the coat of arms of England today.’
      • ‘He wanted a unique way to show his support for England and so he had the three lions emblem and St George's cross engraved on his false teeth.’
      • ‘Four heraldic beasts - two stags, a lion and a griffin - stand guard at a stone staircase opposite the coffin.’
      • ‘Various Aokan emblems, such as the lion capital found on his pillars, have been adopted for official use by the modern state of India.’
      • ‘It is therefore important when examining a slaver on foot to see that it is struck with the obligatory lion passant or leopard's head erased mark.’
      • ‘The ancient emblem for the nation was a lion holding a scimitar against a rising sun.’
      • ‘In the very few crannies left behind are fleurs-de-lis, rampant lions, unicorns, dogs, and vases of flowers.’
      • ‘In his 66 displays with the three lions proudly emblazoned on his chest he rarely put a foot wrong.’
      • ‘On top of it, the blue banner with golden lion as heraldry of Central Kingdom flew.’
      • ‘Above the doorway of the old hall was a carved escutcheon with a lion rampant, the Arms of the De Lacys.’
      • ‘The Sri Lankan flag with the trademark lion embossed in the middle is flying high around the ring and every time a Sri Lankan batsman hits a boundary the roar from the crowd gets louder.’
      • ‘They have two flags - the lion rampant and the saltire - but no national anthem.’
      • ‘When the Scottish King James I came to the throne he ordered that the heraldic red lion of Scotland be displayed on all buildings of importance including pubs.’
      • ‘Heraldically, they derive from the Azure, the lion rampant or coat of arms of the Galician Volynian Prince Lev I.’
      • ‘There was a soiled and tawdry mirror above a massive metal and marble clock supported by a lion couchant on the mantelshelf.’
      • ‘People filed by the coffin covered with the Queen Mother's personal standard which mixed the Royal Arms with the bows and lions of her own Bowes Lyon family.’
      • ‘It was Italian, with a crest on it embroidered with three lions inside the shield with two more lions holding up the logo.’
    2. 1.2the Lion The zodiacal sign or constellation Leo.
    3. 1.3 A brave or strong person.
      • ‘It would have been easy to retire and fade back and let the new lions take charge, but this never crossed Al's mind.’
      • ‘Though this lion has the tendency to be arrogant, sulky or smug, he/she is unrestrained in bed.’
      • ‘Rather, it's in betting on which young lion may take him out.’
      hero, man of courage, brave man, lionheart, lionhearted man
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 An influential or celebrated person.
      ‘a literary lion’
      • ‘Maybe just the act of posting a novel in a forum where bored Babus can read it and slam it will be enough to awaken the sleeping literary lion in aspiring novelists.’
      • ‘His broadside against his critics seemed more like the rantings of a schoolboy than a literary lion.’
      • ‘That particular party was full of literary lions and George was in his element.’
      • ‘Soon he was to move on to London and celebrity, becoming a literary lion of the metropolis of the Nineties.’
      • ‘In his time, novelist-playwright Bulwer-Lytton was one of England's literary lions, but his reputation did not survive into the 20th century.’
      • ‘Though he needs no calling card today, how odd, and even sad, it is that this lion of American letters is still struggling to find his way into print.’
      • ‘Tweedy Upper West Side literary lion teams up with Wall Street mogul to launch multimedia content ‘brand.’’
      • ‘The Advocate asked him to remember a fellow literary lion.’
      • ‘He has been justly celebrated as a business lion - and the book reveals a certain beastliness.’
      • ‘He does not ignore the psychological complexities of Ellison, who was not the drab, neutered literary lion some critics made him out to be.’
      • ‘Scott was 15 or so, and Burns was 28, but already a literary lion.’
      • ‘It's the eagerly awaited second novel from the 28-year-old Foer, currently the hottest young literary lion around (he was the cover story of the Feb. 27 issue of the New York Times magazine).’
      • ‘When he relates his one adult visit to her - he by then a rising literary lion, she a well-known poet - he recognizes her flat as the home of a religious woman but conveys little sense of what that might mean.’
      • ‘Authors sit in the green room waiting to go on, literary lions about to be eaten by library Christians.’
      • ‘Endre Farkas' invitation to celebrate literary lion Pablo Neruda's 100th birthday inspired a series of performative prose-poem vignettes, Proem Cards From Chile.’
      • ‘Even bigger if you add that he's working with a major publisher and that literary lion Kurt Vonnegut calls the book ‘… nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war…‘’
      • ‘A songwriter needn't be a literary lion but in this case, the lack of a back story, esoteric insight, charmed charisma, or soothsayer actualization renders them, more or less, a solid bar band with a great list of influences.’
      • ‘The literary lion offended the politically-correct crowd by denouncing her.’
      • ‘Of Dawson's three literary lions, London has by far the greatest international reputation, especially among Europeans.’
      • ‘J.D. Salinger had to wall himself away from the world and refuse to play the literary lion that the sales figures of his books easily enabled him to become.’
      • ‘Is Tim trying to hold off the emerging influence of a young leftie lion?’
      • ‘He's the son of ‘Black Jack’ Michelet, an overbearing literary lion on the scale of a Norman Mailer.’
      • ‘Dutt actually looks plausible as the weather-beaten old literary lion, galled by his own unfashionability.’
      celebrity, person of note, dignitary, notable, vip, personality, public figure, celebutante, pillar of society, luminary
      View synonyms
  • 2A member of a Lions Club.

    • ‘He was a Lion, who joined in 1975 and became the first Secretary of the Virgin Gorda Lions Club.’

Phrases

  • throw someone to the lions

    • Cause someone to be in an extremely dangerous or unpleasant situation.

      • ‘The king wants you alive so he can throw you to the lions.’
      • ‘I am willing to give it a shot by throwing him to the lions and asking him what he prefers afterwards.’
      • ‘Whatever it was, suddenly she had been thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘She believes that David was treated roughly by those who threw him to the lions, with little advice or guidance.’
      • ‘Maybe Claudio would be better off breaking free from the Roman Empire before he is thrown to the lions.’
      • ‘‘The third,’ Reilly said, ‘are like Nero, who would throw us to the lions any chance they got.’’
      • ‘Hey, at least we're not throwing them to the lions.’
      • ‘When he misled Downing Street, Campbell the gladiator was instrumental in throwing him to the lions.’
      • ‘Everyone there reckoned the BBC were throwing him to the lions, but he waltzed through it and has gone from strength to strength ever since.’
      • ‘If they'll agree not to throw us to the lions we promise not to provide any more fodder for bad movies.’

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French liun, from Latin leo, leon-, from Greek leōn, leont-.

Pronunciation

lion

/ˈlīən//ˈlaɪən/